Know thyself: Measure
For many years, I bought yarn because it
- called to me (who else has heard the yarn whisperer?)
- was priced irresistibly
- made me feel good.
From these purchases, I made things, adapting patterns, making it up along the way. Despite trans atlantic moves and the inevitable destashing associated with such junctures, I built up a fine collection. Eventually, I whittled my way down to only leftovers in early 2006. Lately, I’ve bought yarn with the express purpose of making a sweater, a skirt, a pullover and followed a pattern (novel approach, right?). Patterns have their personalities and reflect not only the materials, but the designer and the habits of the maker. A successfully recreated project acknowledges features of all. This means you need to know the measurements of the person for whom you’re making. Ideally, you know what your project pitfalls might be.
Three cases in point from recent knitting projects:
1) Annamaria Cardigan by Connie Chang Chinchio: This fitted 3/4 sleeve V neck cardigan has nice shaping details and looks like a perfect choice for skirts or trousers. I noticed the 13.5″ from lower edge to underarm was the same length for all sizes.
Having just finished the Plaits and Links cardi with a similar length, I thought, no problem. But these armholes are much more fitted than Plaits and Links, which impacts overall sweater length. I do wish it was longer (and may do something about it). Measure! My mods are in my Ravelry project description.
How long is your back neck to tail bone? Where do your skirt waistbands and trouser waistbands usually lie? Do you wear loose base layers (cami, blouse or knit shirt) or fitted? Keep this in mind when choosing your patterns.
Btw, the yarn is Blackberry Ridge‘s sport weight wool and silk blend. This purchase falls into the “calls to me” category. I have quite a bit of this scrumptious yarn left and can’t wait to knit with it again.
2. Slip Stich Shell from Green Mountain Spinnery. I picked up three skeins of their lovely Cotton Comfort yarn at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool, suddenly determined to knit a garment before they came to the Common Cod Fiber Guild in July. The pattern is originally born in the crop top era, so I added several inches, then later when back and added more. I still wish it were longer. Sigh.
This is a good place to point out how ribbed edging is leaving most of my knitted garments. In this case, I did a provisional picot edge.
Modifying the pattern’s crew neck to a slightly scooped neck worked better for summer. I added the cap sleeves as well. The ribbed neckline also switched into the picot edge. Picot is definitely becoming a favorite for me, but I should keep my eyes open for other options. I wore this a lot this summer, despite the high wool content.
3. The Sasha skirt is a Louet pattern I first admired in 2008, cast on in 2012, ripped back in 2013 and thought for sure I would wear this summer. The skirt comes in three lengths. I only had enough yarn for the shorter length and didn’t want the maxi skirt or long cocktail length, so I blithely assumed (without measuring) that the 23″ skirt length would be just right (looked good on the model!)
Ha! The first hibernation period began after I originally placed the blue ruffle at the lower edge. Yuck… it would make the yellow ruffle look totally weird, I decided. Use the yellow as the kick of color instead. So I ripped back and at that time, lengthened the distance between the second and the third ruffle. Finished, and it looked weird… more length needed between the first and second ruffles or the proportion is off.
With some green remaining, I picked apart what I thought was knitting between the first and second ruffles. Nope. Now the yellow ruffle and green skirt is separated. I’ll need to kitchener this together before moving back to my original goal. Time for project hibernation. Sigh.
Measure, and know thyself, oh textilfiliac.